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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Bill James Mailbag - 12/15/12 - 12/16/12

Oh, Paulie DePodesta… won’t see him no more.

I love the All-Decade teams in the Historical Abstract. Do you have a New Millenium team?

1B—Albert Pujols.  2B—Not sure; maybe Utley?  3B—A-Rod (although there are many good candidates. . .Wood Chipper, Rolen, Wright.)  SS—Dirty Rotten.  LF—Bonds.  CF—Carlos Beltran.  RF—Bobby Abreu, or possibly Sheffield.   DH—Papi.   C—Open to Suggestions.  SP—Sabathia, Pedro, Big Unit, Halladay.  CL—Mariano.

if a good fielding / mediocre hitting team and an all-bat, no-glove team are both looking for a shortstop, should they value the available players differently?...

Well. . .I don’t know if this is the RIGHT answer, but then, neither does anybody else.   I would consider the other things at the margin.   If you have a slow left fielder and a slow right fielder, you probably need a fast center fielder.   If you have a bad defensive third baseman, you probably need a good shortstop. 

I think there’s a rational basis for that, which is this.   While we tend to think of plays as “belonging” to one fielder or another… it is easily observable that there are many plays in the field which can be made by either of two fielders (and sometimes more than two.)   It stands to reason, then, that when one player’s range contracts, his neighbor can cover that to some extent.. .whereas if two neighboring fielders both have poor range, there is probably an interactive effect.  

There is a second reason to avoid stacking up liabilities in the field, which is the curvature of the lines.   If you increase hits by 10%, you increase runs by 20%.   If you increase runs by 20%, you increase losses by 44%.   When you stack up parallel liabilities in the field, there may be a more-than-proportional cost because of the curvature of the lines.

If you want to know why some of us get angry at the writers about the Hall of Fame vote, here is an example which might hit home for you, taken from a piece by Howard Bryant on espn.com: “The emerging Generation M (M standing for Moneyball), influenced by its Godfather, Bill James, and his capo, Billy Beane, is also deeply culpable for allowing their calculations to blissfully ignore steroids and, through that omission, attempting to legitimize the whole dishonest era (and themselves) by attempting to make the game revolve around only numbers…”

... There is a large, general historical argument going on about how to evaluate baseball players and about how baseball games are won, and Bryant perceives us—correctly—as being the aggressors in this argument, seizing territory long held by traditional sportswriters.    He resents the loss of this territory, as people have always resented the loss of territory they claim to own, and he focuses this resentment on us.  

But we are transitioning also into a third argument, away from the argument about how to win games and thus how to evaluate players, into one about steroids.   The truth will ultimately prevail in that argument, as it has prevailed and will prevail in the other arguments.   We have to be careful, then, that we do not allow others to assign us territory to defend, and thus wind up defending the indefensible.  

It has never been my position that nothing counts except the numbers.   There is a great deal that matters in baseball that is difficult to document and difficult to assess the value of.

It is not my position that you can’t discount the accomplishments of steroid users.   I think it is entirely fair to apply a discount, if you choose to do so, to the things done by Jason Giambi or Manny Ramirez or any other pill popper.

It is my view, however, that attempting to apply that discount traps you into an ultimately unsustainable balancing act.   At least three players who were almost certainly steroid users have already been elected to the Hall of Fame.   In five years that will be ten players, or 20.   At that point you will be drawing a line between those who were credibly accused of using steroids—who you want to keep out of the Hall of Fame—and those who merely have all the characteristics of steroid users, but who have somehow escaped the accusations.   As time passes it is going to become progressively more difficult to sustain that distinction.

The phils new SP, John Lannan , is 2-5with a 6- plus era in Citizens bank park. How much stock do u give such things generally and how much does it mean for pitching in cbp for lannan facing the nats braves mets etc?

It doesn’t mean anything, except it expands my respect for the Phillies a little.   If a player plays well against YOU, you’d be surprised how much that drives demand for him within an organization.     It’s unusual that a team would sign a player who has pitched poorly against them.

The District Attorney Posted: December 18, 2012 at 09:41 PM | 143 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: bill james, hall of fame, history, sabermetrics, strategy

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   1. zachtoma Posted: December 19, 2012 at 06:52 AM (#4328318)
At least three players who were almost certainly steroid users have already been elected to the Hall of Fame.


What? Who is he talking about? Robby Alomar? Nolan Ryan? Cal Ripken?
   2. BrianBrianson Posted: December 19, 2012 at 07:24 AM (#4328321)
Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, and Pud Galvin are all known to have taken steroid injections. Maybe "used" is wrong because it's unclear they derived any benefits from them (indeed, at least in Ruth's case, it seems to have poisoned him pretty badly).

In all serious, Fisk is almost certainly one of the ones James is thinking off. Don't know about the other two.
   3. Bug Selig Posted: December 19, 2012 at 07:44 AM (#4328324)
Don't know about the other two.

Puckett?
   4. John Northey Posted: December 19, 2012 at 08:24 AM (#4328330)
Puckett has always been my 'eyeball test' case as he muscled up drastically in one offseason, jumped from 0-4 HR his first 2 years to over 30 and moved from solid player to super-star. I wouldn't be surprised in the least if Rickey Henderson did, he was extremely chiseled physically and played a long, long time with his 2nd & 3rd Oakland stints being during the period that steroids would've ruled the clubhouse. Given various banned substances are supposed to help you stay on the field one cannot help but put a question mark beside Ripken. Fisk and other catchers who lasted a long long time are also in question due to that factor. Nolan Ryan with his obsession with fitness, weights, and ability to play much longer than anyone thought (a 140 ERA+ at 44, 116 ERA+ from 40 on vs his 110 ERA+ before that) puts a question mark up. Paul Molitor before age 34 had one season over 135 for OPS+, after had 4 of them. Just a few guys who would've drawn very suspicious looks now who were ignored in the past.
   5. Russ Posted: December 19, 2012 at 08:27 AM (#4328331)
In all serious, Fisk is almost certainly one of the ones James is thinking off. Don't know about the other two.


Henderson? Eckersley? If you think the late 80's / early 90's A's were a team full of users during a time when it wasn't clear how it might be viewed, then these two would have to be prime candidates.
   6. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: December 19, 2012 at 08:56 AM (#4328342)
Reggie. Didn't a steroid dealer surf his couch for a while?
   7. Walt Davis Posted: December 19, 2012 at 08:58 AM (#4328343)
Oh heck, I'll go with Sutter, Perez and Perry. What do I win?
   8. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 19, 2012 at 09:11 AM (#4328349)
I would be shocked if Rickey used steroids. Reggie would not surprise me at all.
   9. BDC Posted: December 19, 2012 at 09:52 AM (#4328365)
C—Open to Suggestions


Most games caught in the millennium so far is, I believe, A.J. Pierogi, with Jason Kendall a close second. The actual best catcher is clearly Joe Mauer, unless you're very intent on weighing total games caught over quality (in which case Jorge Posada would be as good a suggestion as any).
   10. Long Time Listener, First Time Caller Posted: December 19, 2012 at 10:02 AM (#4328377)
Paul Molitor, Rickey, and Fisk would be my guess
   11. JJ1986 Posted: December 19, 2012 at 10:25 AM (#4328395)
Rickey's not one of them, so there's only 2.
   12. Cooper Nielson Posted: December 19, 2012 at 10:32 AM (#4328399)
Rickey's not one of them, so there's only 2.

Well done. :)
   13. Gary Truth Serum Posted: December 19, 2012 at 10:41 AM (#4328402)
Most games caught in the millennium so far is, I believe, A.J. Pierogi, with Jason Kendall a close second. The actual best catcher is clearly Joe Mauer, unless you're very intent on weighing total games caught over quality (in which case Jorge Posada would be as good a suggestion as any).

A follow-up e-mail to James suggested Mauer and James admitted he had overlooked him in a "senior moment".
   14. Cooper Nielson Posted: December 19, 2012 at 10:46 AM (#4328408)
Obviously this is all speculative (for me, at least), but Nolan Ryan lines up pretty well with what we "know" (think we know) about steroid users:

1. Eric Gagne: Threw really hard his entire career, with a very slow decline in velocity. Steroids supposedly give you a few extra mph.
2. Barry Bonds: A great player who became an even better player at an age where he's supposed to be declining. Ryan's best ERA+ years came at 34, 40, 30 and 44. (WAR looks more kindly on his "prime," due largely to the number of IP thrown, but his #5-7 seasons in WAR came at ages 40, 44 and 42.)
3. Roger Clemens: Pitched deep into his 40s with very few health problems.
4. Ken Caminiti/Jose Canseco: Spent much of his career with the two Texas teams, which seem to have reputations as steroid havens.
5. Rafael Palmeiro: Lucrative pharmaceutical sponsorship shows he is not globally anti-drug.
   15. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: December 19, 2012 at 11:15 AM (#4328446)
It is not my position that you can’t discount the accomplishments of steroid users. I think it is entirely fair to apply a discount, if you choose to do so, to the things done by Jason Giambi or Manny Ramirez or any other pill popper.

It is my view, however, that attempting to apply that discount traps you into an ultimately unsustainable balancing act. At least three players who were almost certainly steroid users have already been elected to the Hall of Fame. In five years that will be ten players, or 20.


So IOW until that time that the HoF decides to induct known steroid users, let's cast suspicion over the broadest possible number of players. Hell, since he's not naming anyone, I'm surprised he stopped with only three---oh, but wait, in five years the HoF will have inducted 5 more, or maybe even 15, according to Bill James's Secret Sources or something.

At that point


Assuming we accept James's assertion as fact, without any proof or evidence beyond hearsay....

you will be drawing a line between those who were credibly accused of using steroids—who you want to keep out of the Hall of Fame


IOW known steroid users

—and those who merely have all the characteristics of steroid users, but who have somehow escaped the accusations.


IOW players with no actual evidence against them other than speculation and hearsay.

As time passes it is going to become progressively more difficult to sustain that distinction.


Of course it might help separate fact from fiction if James provided a few actual names of some of these players that he's so sure about, but then again Gods don't have to answer either letters or questions.


   16. John Northey Posted: December 19, 2012 at 11:25 AM (#4328460)
Well, now that James is working for a MLB team he probably does have insider info on who did/did not do steroids. Henderson seems very possible as I am Canadian and we all went through the nightmare of Ben Johnson in 1988 and how our country went nuts navel gazing over it. Sprinters are notorious for taking drugs (iirc all but one of the finalists in the '88 Olympics were eventually caught for some banned substance, including Carl Lewis) so why wouldn't a guy who counts on his speed to a large degree be using steroids if there was no testing and no penalties if you did somehow get caught?

In truth, any MLB player who didn't at least look into using steroids in the late 80's/1990's was being foolish as they clearly helped you train and build muscle thus not using was writing off wins for your team and millions of dollars for yourself.
   17. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: December 19, 2012 at 11:46 AM (#4328479)
Well, now that James is working for a MLB team he probably does have insider info on who did/did not do steroids.

Maybe or maybe not, but the effect of what James is doing is taking those 3 unnamed names and effectively inviting everyone to start speculating about every possible player for nearly any possible reason that might occur to them. It's barely one step removed from what that NY Times reporter did in that Sammy Sosa story.

If James has actual proof that those 3 unnamed players took steroids, he should name them and be ready to back up his claims with credible evidence, not this "not sayin', just sayin'" BS. Of course that assumes that he's actually got some sort of principle behind his innuendo, and that he's just not just playing the concern troll in a particularly smarmy manner.
   18. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: December 19, 2012 at 11:48 AM (#4328482)
In truth, any MLB player who didn't at least look into using steroids in the late 80's/1990's was being foolish as they clearly helped you train and build muscle thus not using was writing off wins for your team and millions of dollars for yourself.

That's certainly one possible take that's got many adherents among the libertarians, but it's not the one that James is making.
   19. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: December 19, 2012 at 12:00 PM (#4328493)
Since it's almost certain that there are several players in the Hall of Fame who threw games for monetary compensation, does James think the Black Sox are being punished unfairly?
   20. Tom Nawrocki Posted: December 19, 2012 at 12:01 PM (#4328495)
Anyone who believes there aren't yet any steroid users in the Hall of Fame is almost laughably naive.
   21. cardsfanboy Posted: December 19, 2012 at 12:04 PM (#4328500)
Agreed, what James is doing is NO different than what the writers are doing.
   22. BrianBrianson Posted: December 19, 2012 at 12:34 PM (#4328535)
The best possible outcome at this point is that everyone who's held a baseball since 1980 is taken to be a suspected steroid user - no way 25% of writers are willing to send in blank ballots year after year. Deluding themselves into thinking there are "clean" players on the ballot is what leads them to not vote for Bonds, Clemens, et al. If it was common knowledge that Morris, Biggio, Smith, et al. were also using steroids, that intransigence would have to dry up.
   23. The District Attorney Posted: December 19, 2012 at 12:40 PM (#4328541)
Since it's almost certain that there are several players in the Hall of Fame who threw games for monetary compensation, does James think the Black Sox are being punished unfairly?
Yeah. I mean, I do think that in reality, if it were revealed that a current HOFer used steroids, it'd drastically change the conversation. But it's not clear to me that it should. There are a lot better arguments to be made; I'm surprised James focused on that one.
   24. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: December 19, 2012 at 12:43 PM (#4328546)
Anyone who believes there aren't yet any steroid users in the Hall of Fame is almost laughably naive.

There were also many known Communist spies within the State Department in the 1940's. So should those known spies have been given a pass because we couldn't identify others who may have also been spies? Or should we have just started throwing out innuendo at the 99% of the employees who were loyal, simply because there may have been some undetected spies among them?

And no, I'm not equating steroid users with Communist spies, but the principle is identical: Why are we obliged to lump everyone in a group together simply because we don't possess full information about everyone within the group? We don't do that in our criminal justice system, and we don't do that in our everyday lives. Why do we "have to" do it in this case?

-------------------------------------------

Agreed, what James is doing is NO different than what the writers are doing.

Agreed, and what they're both doing is shameful, even if both of them would likely try to claim some higher moral ground over the other.

If James were more forthright, he could just say "Let's just vote for players on the basis of their records, since cheating is cheating and IMO steroids are no different than amps or spitters." And that would be a coherent POV, but that's not what he's doing.
   25. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: December 19, 2012 at 12:48 PM (#4328550)
The best possible outcome at this point is that everyone who's held a baseball since 1980 is taken to be a suspected steroid user - no way 25% of writers are willing to send in blank ballots year after year. Deluding themselves into thinking there are "clean" players on the ballot is what leads them to not vote for Bonds, Clemens, et al. If it was common knowledge that Morris, Biggio, Smith, et al. were also using steroids, that intransigence would have to dry up.

Sure, and if it were common knowledge that Obama was really a Kenyan, that might have changed the outcome of the election. But perhaps you have some inside information about "Morris, Biggio, Smith, et al" that you'd like to share with the rest of the world and take us out of our state of illusion.
   26. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: December 19, 2012 at 12:51 PM (#4328554)

There were also many known Communist spies within the State Department in the 1940's. So should those known spies have been given a pass because we couldn't identify others who may have also been spies? Or should we have just started throwing out innuendo at the 99% of the employees who were loyal, simply because there may have been some undetected spies among them?

And no, I'm not equating steroid users with Communist spies, but the principle is identical: Why are we obliged to lump everyone in a group together simply because we don't possess full information about everyone within the group? We don't do that in our criminal justice system, and we don't do that in our everyday lives. Why do we "have to" do it in this case?


Great. Now I'll have to cope with the image of Roger Clemens dressed as Ethel Rosenberg for the rest of my years.
   27. BrianBrianson Posted: December 19, 2012 at 12:54 PM (#4328557)
But perhaps you have some inside information about "Morris, Biggio, Smith, et al" that you'd like to share with the rest of the world and take us out of our state of illusion.


It seems likely, which is the origin of the irremovable suspicion on almost everyone else.
   28. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: December 19, 2012 at 01:11 PM (#4328582)
Great. Now I'll have to cope with the image of Roger Clemens dressed as Ethel Rosenberg for the rest of my years.

You do know, don't you, that one of Julius Rosenberg's last known questions before he was executed was "How did the Dodgers do?"

------------------------------------------

But perhaps you have some inside information about "Morris, Biggio, Smith, et al" that you'd like to share with the rest of the world and take us out of our state of illusion.

It seems likely, which is the origin of the irremovable suspicion on almost everyone else.


Yeah, that's almost as convincing as real physical evidence like this.
   29. BrianBrianson Posted: December 19, 2012 at 01:23 PM (#4328595)
Yeah, that's almost as convincing as real physical evidence like this.


It's confusing that you're phrasing that like you disagree with my point, but I don't think you've actually presented any reason that you do. If I write everyone's name on the fence, they have to give up on the fence evidence. Why would you prefer Joe Zilch go to jail?
   30. Srul Itza Posted: December 19, 2012 at 01:33 PM (#4328604)
Andy's just in denial.

What else is new.
   31. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 19, 2012 at 01:34 PM (#4328606)
Catchers by WAR 2000-2009

1. Jorge Posada 34.8
2. Ivan Rodriguez 28.4
3. Joe Mauer 26.0
4. Jason Kendall 23.4
5. Victor Martinez 18.6
   32. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 19, 2012 at 01:42 PM (#4328612)
4. Jason Kendall 23.4

Yeah, but the stubble accounts for half of that.
   33. KT's Pot Arb Posted: December 19, 2012 at 01:57 PM (#4328630)
If James has actual proof that those 3 unnamed players took steroids, he should name them and be ready to back up his claims with credible evidence, not this "not sayin', just sayin'" BS. Of course that assumes that he's actually got some sort of principle behind his innuendo, and that he's just not just playing the concern troll in a particularly smarmy manner.


Did you constantly fail reading comprehension in school?

Bill's point was that over time HOF voters are going to elect players from this era who are worthy on the basis of their accomplishments, who are also almost certainly steroid users. He sees three inductees who match that criteria now, in the future there will be far more.

Drawing a line and keeping out the McGwires and ManRams because they got caught or confessed, while allowing in others who were lucky enough to escape the testing era, is the logical conundrum you don't want to face, maybe because logic itself is a conundrum to you.
   34. KT's Pot Arb Posted: December 19, 2012 at 02:05 PM (#4328641)
Who is Dirty Rotten?

I find it interesting that A-Rod had 36 fWAR at shortstop from 2000-2009, despite never playing the position after 2003. I wonder where he ranks for the decade among shortstops.
   35. SoSH U at work Posted: December 19, 2012 at 02:09 PM (#4328644)
Who is Dirty Rotten?


Jeter.
   36. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: December 19, 2012 at 02:15 PM (#4328657)
Yeah, that's almost as convincing as real physical evidence like this.

It's confusing that you're phrasing that like you disagree with my point, but I don't think you've actually presented any reason that you do. If I write everyone's name on the fence, they have to give up on the fence evidence. Why would you prefer Joe Zilch go to jail?


Sorry, I guess I should have put "(sarcasm alert)" in front of that post, but I kind of thought that the nature of that "evidence" spoke for itself.

Of course "Morris, Biggio, Smith, et al" have about as much real evidence against them as Joe Zilch of Herblock fame, but for whatever reason you seem to consider the evidence against Morris & Co. to be more compelling, even though it consists of exactly nothing.

--------------------------------------------

Did you constantly fail reading comprehension in school?

Bill's point was that over time HOF voters are going to elect players from this era who are worthy on the basis of their accomplishments, who are also almost certainly steroid users. He sees three inductees who match that criteria now, in the future there will be far more.

Drawing a line and keeping out the McGwires and ManRams because they got caught or confessed, while allowing in others who were lucky enough to escape the testing era, is the logical conundrum you don't want to face, maybe because logic itself is a conundrum to you.


No, Bill's point is that he wants to see known steroid users in the Hall of Fame, and the best way to accomplish this is by lumping them with players about whom no compelling evidence has been presented. Nice move, but it's a bit transparent.

Again, if either you or Bill James or the ####### Man in the Moon have actual evidence you wish to present against any player you want, please do so. But until that great day in the future, you might want to consider the evidence we actually have on hand right now, and leave the forecasting to Kehoskie's unskewing pollsters.

--------------------------------------------

Andy's just in denial.

What else is new.


If a refusal to rush to judgment on the basis of hearsay and speculation is being "in denial", then fine, call it whatever the #### you want. I can live with that.
   37. Tom Nawrocki Posted: December 19, 2012 at 02:21 PM (#4328668)
Of course that assumes that he's actually got some sort of principle behind his innuendo, and that he's just not just playing the concern troll in a particularly smarmy manner.


The principle is that steroid usage isn't some kind if hideous moral failing that requires its practitioners to be banned from polite society. And even if this has become the principle now, it surely wasn't when the extant Hall of Famers were using steroids.

Consider for the sake of argument that Carlton Fisk started using steroids as a way to enhance his workout regimen back in 1982. (His manager at the time was Tony LaRussa, by the way.) How was he supposed to know that, 20 years later, this would become a baseball crime on a par with throwing the World Series?
   38. BrianBrianson Posted: December 19, 2012 at 02:22 PM (#4328671)
Sorry, I guess I should have put "(sarcasm alert)" in front of that post, but I kind of thought that the nature of that "evidence" spoke for itself.


I think the problem is your reading comprehension that everyone else has already complained about. Piazza has probably already been convicted on "Seems like it" evidence. Ditto Bagwell. Sosa on "Well, my friend's uncle's roomate's podiatrist heard it". None of them have any chance of a pardon or appeal. If you recognise that everyone is guilty of seeming like it, you can abandon the idiocy. Why you insist on sticking to the idiocy of the idea that you can determine guilt just by looking at them is beyond me.
   39. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: December 19, 2012 at 02:43 PM (#4328698)
Of course that assumes that he's actually got some sort of principle behind his innuendo, and that he's just not just playing the concern troll in a particularly smarmy manner.

The principle is that steroid usage isn't some kind if hideous moral failing that requires its practitioners to be banned from polite society. And even if this has become the principle now, it surely wasn't when the extant Hall of Famers were using steroids.

Consider for the sake of argument that Carlton Fisk started using steroids as a way to enhance his workout regimen back in 1982. (His manager at the time was Tony LaRussa, by the way.) How was he supposed to know that, 20 years later, this would become a baseball crime on a par with throwing the World Series?


Fine, then be like Treder and just say that we should treat the Hall of Fame like the Hall of Merit, and let statistics alone determine 99% of your vote. That's a perfectly defensible and honorable position.

But if you don't think that steroid users belong in the Hall of Fame, then I would think you'd have an obligation to try to sort them out to the best of all available knowledge, and not on the basis of hearsay and speculation.

And if by some chance, 1 or 3 or 15 or 20 now-unknown users turn out later (after their election) to have juiced, then at that point you can always vote in the Bondses and the McGwires. But unless you don't care about the issue in the first place, I don't see the point in getting ahead of yourself, which is essentially what James is telling us to do.

---------------------------------------------------

Sorry, I guess I should have put "(sarcasm alert)" in front of that post, but I kind of thought that the nature of that "evidence" spoke for itself.

I think the problem is your reading comprehension that everyone else has already complained about. Piazza has probably already been convicted on "Seems like it" evidence. Ditto Bagwell. Sosa on "Well, my friend's uncle's roomate's podiatrist heard it". None of them have any chance of a pardon or appeal. If you recognise that everyone is guilty of seeming like it, you can abandon the idiocy. Why you insist on sticking to the idiocy of the idea that you can determine guilt just by looking at them is beyond me.


I've never had any problem "comprehending" the POV that since "Piazza has probably already been convicted", that therefore we should just say The Hell With It and vote in players about whom the evidence is----let's say a lot more convincing. You can call that an argument, but it doesn't amount to anything more than a backhanded way of admitting known steroid users.

I think what you (and James) really want to say is "cheating is cheating, and the hell with it, let's just vote on the basis of the record book". And that's a perfectly honest and logical position. You might consider just sticking with it, rather than trying to pretend that everyone who played in the pre-testing era is somehow equally tainted for HoF voting purposes.
   40. just plain joe Posted: December 19, 2012 at 02:46 PM (#4328700)
You do know, don't you, that one of Julius Rosenberg's last known questions before he was executed was "How did the Dodgers do?"


That was his problem then, if he had been a Yankees fan he likely would have been pardoned.
   41. Repoz Posted: December 19, 2012 at 02:52 PM (#4328715)
Reggie. Didn't a steroid dealer surf his couch for a while?

Didn't Reggie first bring the doctor that supplied the A's with steroids into the clubhouse?
   42. Tom Nawrocki Posted: December 19, 2012 at 02:53 PM (#4328717)
Consider for the sake of argument that Carlton Fisk started using steroids as a way to enhance his workout regimen back in 1982. (His manager at the time was Tony LaRussa, by the way.) How was he supposed to know that, 20 years later, this would become a baseball crime on a par with throwing the World Series?

Fine, then be like Treder and just say that we should treat the Hall of Fame like the Hall of Merit, and let statistics alone determine 99% of your vote.


Do you have an answer for my question? Or do you think it's justifiable to penalize Fisk on the basis of attitudes that didn't appear until long after he was retired?
   43. BDC Posted: December 19, 2012 at 03:19 PM (#4328752)
Drawing a line and keeping out the McGwires and ManRams because they got caught or confessed, while allowing in others who were lucky enough to escape the testing era, is the logical conundrum

And it does seem a circuitous line to draw. I'd be more sympathetic to a line that excluded only those who were caught breaking rules that were being enforced when they broke them (if that makes sense): i.e. Bonds and McGwire in, Palmeiro and M.Ramirez out. I don't agree with that line, but it puts things on a consistent level and asks for proof rather than making WAGs.
   44. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: December 19, 2012 at 03:21 PM (#4328754)
You do know, don't you, that one of Julius Rosenberg's last known questions before he was executed was "How did the Dodgers do?"

That was his problem then, if he had been a Yankees fan he likely would have been pardoned.


And as an 8-year old Yankees fan, my reaction at the time was "That'll learn 'im."

--------------------------------------------------------------

Consider for the sake of argument that Carlton Fisk started using steroids as a way to enhance his workout regimen back in 1982. (His manager at the time was Tony LaRussa, by the way.) How was he supposed to know that, 20 years later, this would become a baseball crime on a par with throwing the World Series?

Fine, then be like Treder and just say that we should treat the Hall of Fame like the Hall of Merit, and let statistics alone determine 99% of your vote.

Do you have an answer for my question? Or do you think it's justifiable to penalize Fisk on the basis of attitudes that didn't appear until long after he was retired?


I wouldn't remove his plaque, if that's what you mean, just as I wouldn't remove the plaques of any other players with post-induction revelations. I would think that the stain on their reputation would be far greater (with some people, anyway) than any such nominal retroactions.

Again, if at some point down the road, current HoF members get outed, that will obviously affect the cases of the Bondses and the McGwires----as it should, out of fairness. All I'm saying, though, is to wait for those revelations to come (if and when they will), rather than merely act on the assumption that they we already "know" that they're coming.
   45. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 19, 2012 at 03:22 PM (#4328756)
I think either:

(1) Bill was saying the probability is that at least three HOFers used steroids, not that he knows for sure which three it is, but taking into account the era, most likely three did use; or

(2) Bill casually tossed that out to see people scramble to guess who it was to prove some sort of point about witchhunts.
   46. attaboy Posted: December 19, 2012 at 03:36 PM (#4328777)
'There is a second reason to avoid stacking up liabilities in the field, which is the curvature of the lines. If you increase hits by 10%, you increase runs by 20%. If you increase runs by 20%, you increase losses by 44%. When you stack up parallel liabilities in the field, there may be a more-than-proportional cost because of the curvature of the lines.'

I thought this line was hugely powerful, a piece of information that no one has commented on yet. Is this just general knowledge that I missed through the years?
   47. Gonfalon B. Posted: December 19, 2012 at 03:39 PM (#4328782)
There were also many known Communist spies within the State Department in the 1940's. So should those known spies have been given a pass because we couldn't identify others who may have also been spies? Or should we have just started throwing out innuendo at the 99% of the employees who were loyal, simply because there may have been some undetected spies among them?

I've always thought that if you cut Kirby Puckett's head open, there would be microfilm inside it.
   48. SoSH U at work Posted: December 19, 2012 at 03:42 PM (#4328788)
I think either:

(1) Bill was saying the probability is that at least three HOFers used steroids, not that he knows for sure which three it is, but taking into account the era, most likely three did use; or

(2) Bill casually tossed that out to see people scramble to guess who it was to prove some sort of point about witchhunts.



Don't discount:

(3) Bill says a lot of stupid #### these days.

   49. Tom Nawrocki Posted: December 19, 2012 at 03:47 PM (#4328797)
I wouldn't remove his plaque, if that's what you mean,


No, that's not what I mean at all. What I mean is, How was Carlton Fisk supposed to know that, 20 years later, steroid usage would become a baseball crime on a par with throwing the World Series?

Again, I have no way to know that Fisk used steroids; he's just here for the sake of argument.
   50. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: December 19, 2012 at 03:49 PM (#4328801)
There were also many known Communist spies within the State Department in the 1940's. So should those known spies have been given a pass because we couldn't identify others who may have also been spies? Or should we have just started throwing out innuendo at the 99% of the employees who were loyal, simply because there may have been some undetected spies among them?

I've always thought that if you cut Kirby Puckett's head open, there would be microfilm inside it.


I'd love to top that one, but I know when I'm beat.

---------------------------------------------------

Don't discount:

(3) Bill says a lot of stupid #### these days.


Given his recent political rantings, that'd be the last thing I'd rule out.
   51. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: December 19, 2012 at 03:56 PM (#4328810)
I wouldn't remove his plaque, if that's what you mean,

No, that's not what I mean at all. What I mean is, How was Carlton Fisk supposed to know that, 20 years later, steroid usage would become a baseball crime on a par with throwing the World Series?


Well, obviously he wouldn't have known. I'm not sure you can ascribe the same degree of innocence to the players of the 90's with their pharamceutically trained Andersons overseeing their workouts, but I realize that this is a subjective call.

Again, I have no way to know that Fisk used steroids; he's just here for the sake of argument.

I understand that.
   52. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: December 19, 2012 at 04:21 PM (#4328826)

Consider for the sake of argument that Carlton Fisk started using steroids as a way to enhance his workout regimen back in 1982. (His manager at the time was Tony LaRussa, by the way.) How was he supposed to know that, 20 years later, this would become a baseball crime on a par with throwing the World Series?


If it were innocuous in 1982, Fisk wouldn't have had any compunction about discussing it in 1982. But he didn't, because he knew it was cheating.
   53. Sunday silence Posted: December 19, 2012 at 04:33 PM (#4328838)

There is a second reason to avoid stacking up liabilities in the field, which is the curvature of the lines. If you increase hits by 10%, you increase runs by 20%. If you increase runs by 20%, you increase losses by 44%. When you stack up parallel liabilities in the field, there may be a more-than-proportional cost because of the curvature of the lines.


this part I dont get. If you are "stacking" liabilities in the field then presumably you are getting some offensive effect for all that. And by his own reasoning, the effect is some sort of exponential or synergistic. So supposedly whatever offensive benefits you gained would offset the defensive liabilities by this same exponential effect type reasoning.

It is funny that this sort of reasoning is almost contradictory to the arguments that Bill James was making way back. For instance he made very cogent arguments, that defense doesnt beat offense, good pitching doesnt beat good hitting, etc. These sorts of cliches can be dispose of with logical reasoning and yet he seems to almost fall back into the same trap.

In similar manner he made a very good case a long time ago when people were trying to discount fielding range and he found it hard to believe that like one SS was taking away chances from a thirdbasement. Forget the names, just the concept. His reasoning was that why would you position fielders to double cover areas when they in fact should be spread out for max effect.

Of course, I realize now, as I study it more there are chances that are optional, on pop ups and such. Still, we need more info on this aspect. But it's his blanket sort of statements here, that seem contradictory to his positions in the past.
   54. Random Transaction Generator Posted: December 19, 2012 at 04:42 PM (#4328849)
If it were innocuous in 1982, Fisk wouldn't have had any compunction about discussing it in 1982. But he didn't, because he knew it was cheating.


Did guys talk about all the different medications they were taking in 1982?
Like painkillers, sleep aids, etc?
Maybe it was thought of in the same light but when it suddenly became "pharmacum non grata", everyone suddenly decided they would DEFINITELY not talk about it any time soon.
   55. The District Attorney Posted: December 19, 2012 at 04:46 PM (#4328856)
[possibly] Bill was saying the probability is that at least three HOFers used steroids, not that he knows for sure which three it is, but taking into account the era, most likely three did use
Nope, he clarifies later:
There are three players (that I was thinking of) who have strong characteristics associated with steroid use, in all three cases supported by other evidence. There could be others; I didn't scour the Hall of Fame roster to see if I could find a fourth or a fifth or anything, because that's irrelevant to the real point. The real point is that as time passes, it is going to become more and more impossible to pretend that we have kept the steroid users out of the Hall of Fame, when in reality all we have kept out is those who have been publicly accused.
   56. Bhaakon Posted: December 19, 2012 at 04:48 PM (#4328862)
Maybe or maybe not, but the effect of what James is doing is taking those 3 unnamed names and effectively inviting everyone to start speculating about every possible player for nearly any possible reason that might occur to them. It's barely one step removed from what that NY Times reporter did in that Sammy Sosa story.


Based on his phrasing, I don't think this is his reasoning, but there's another way to look at it. If we imagine that the steroid era begins when Canseco enters the league in 85, then by my count there have been 32 HOFer elected who played some part of their career in the steroid era. 3 out of 32 would mean that 10% of players active in that time period used PEDs. It isn't outlandish that one in ten major leaguers were juicing, if not in the early-mid 80's, then certainly by the late nineties. The survey test in 2003 returned 104 positives out of 1438 tests--7.2%--but this is only a snapshot; the percentage of players who have used at some point in their career would be higher than the percentage who are on PEDs at any given time, and, of course, the players knew the test was coming (though supposedly anonymous and punishment-free). Even if you think that percentage is high, it seems likely that at least one person who used steroid has been elected, even if there's no evidence for any particular inductee.
   57. something like a train wreck Posted: December 19, 2012 at 04:50 PM (#4328863)
I've always thought that if you cut Kirby Puckett's head open, there would be microfilm inside it.


You'd find the whole pumpkin and Nixon eating Kirby's brains with a spoon.
   58. Tom Nawrocki Posted: December 19, 2012 at 04:56 PM (#4328870)
If it were innocuous in 1982, Fisk wouldn't have had any compunction about discussing it in 1982. But he didn't, because he knew it was cheating.


Of course, when Pete Rose was asked, circa 1982, if he had ever used greenies, he famously answered "What's a greenie?"

I imagine Fisk would have thought steroids were cheating in precisely the same manner that he would have thought greenies were cheating.

(This also presumes that anyone was asking Carlton Fisk about his workout regimen in 1982, which they weren't.)
   59. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: December 19, 2012 at 05:02 PM (#4328874)
Do you have an answer for my question? Or do you think it's justifiable to penalize Fisk on the basis of attitudes that didn't appear until long after he was retired?

Do you think it's justifiable to penalize someone for using something for which Baseball had no rule against at the time of use?
   60. zenbitz Posted: December 19, 2012 at 05:04 PM (#4328876)
IOW known steroid users


But if you don't think that steroid users belong in the Hall of Fame, then I would think you'd have an obligation to try to sort them out to the best of all available knowledge, and not on the basis of hearsay and speculation.


Well, obviously he wouldn't have known. I'm not sure you can ascribe the same degree of innocence to the players of the 90's with their pharamceutically trained Andersons overseeing their workouts, but I realize that this is a subjective call.


This is the WHOLE problem with your argument, Andy. You think you are being reasonable and not witch hunting, but your criteria of "known" vs. "suspected" steroid users is capricious and, as you say, subjective.

And there IS is actually a pretty dang objective way to measure this: If you have failed a MLB administered test, with right of appeal for steriods, then you are a known steroid user.

But this is not good enough for you, because it would basically let you keep ARod and Manny Ramierez out of the HOF.

I guess you could expand it to "confessed" steroid users (adding McGwire, Canseco and a few others)... but it seems wrong to punish people for confessing.




   61. mchengcit Posted: December 19, 2012 at 05:51 PM (#4328915)

'There is a second reason to avoid stacking up liabilities in the field, which is the curvature of the lines. If you increase hits by 10%, you increase runs by 20%. If you increase runs by 20%, you increase losses by 44%. When you stack up parallel liabilities in the field, there may be a more-than-proportional cost because of the curvature of the lines.'

I thought this line was hugely powerful, a piece of information that no one has commented on yet. Is this just general knowledge that I missed through the years?


I think the first bit about increasing hits is true, but the second one about increasing wins is false.

An easy way to understand the first statement is to go back to James's original runs created formula which, in its simple form, is that runs created is proportional to SLGxOBP. If you increase all hits (and walks) by 10%, both SLG and OBP go up by 10%, so runs created goes up by 21%. Naively, this seems to go against linear weights, which is built on the assumption that there is a linear relationship between runs and the components of runs (singles, doubles, triples, etc.) However, when increasing hits by 10% in a linear weights formula, one actually has to decrease outs by 10%. Since outs give a negative contribution to linear weights, doing this gives a 20% increase in runs.

As for the second assertion, from James's original Pythagorean theorem of baseball, if a previously average team scores 20% more runs but allows the same number, an 81 team will jump to something like 95 to 96 wins, only an 18% increase. If a team gives up 20% more runs, it will win 66 games, an 18% decrease. The fact that runs is very close to linear with respect to wins in a broad range of winning percentages is what allows one to use a constant runs/wins converter in systems like WARP. I suspect James got a little bit cavalier with the math - in calculating the Pythagorean ratios, you have to square things, and when you square 1.2, you get 1.44, or the 44% in his quote. What he probably forgot was to divide by the denominator. Of course, if you increase runs scored by 20% and decrease runs allowed by 20% simultaneously, then you get something like the 44%, which is maybe what James meant.
   62. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: December 19, 2012 at 06:00 PM (#4328926)
Maybe or maybe not, but the effect of what James is doing is taking those 3 unnamed names and effectively inviting everyone to start speculating about every possible player for nearly any possible reason that might occur to them. It's barely one step removed from what that NY Times reporter did in that Sammy Sosa story.

Based on his phrasing, I don't think this is his reasoning, but there's another way to look at it. If we imagine that the steroid era begins when Canseco enters the league in 85, then by my count there have been 32 HOFer elected who played some part of their career in the steroid era. 3 out of 32 would mean that 10% of players active in that time period used PEDs. It isn't outlandish that one in ten major leaguers were juicing, if not in the early-mid 80's, then certainly by the late nineties. The survey test in 2003 returned 104 positives out of 1438 tests--7.2%--but this is only a snapshot; the percentage of players who have used at some point in their career would be higher than the percentage who are on PEDs at any given time, and, of course, the players knew the test was coming (though supposedly anonymous and punishment-free). Even if you think that percentage is high, it seems likely that at least one person who used steroid has been elected, even if there's no evidence for any particular inductee.


I'm willing to grant James's good faith in making his case for the sake of argument, but I don't agree with his conclusion that we should proactively assume anything for the purpose of inducting currently known users.

Again, if Bonds (shorthand for the overall point) is still on the outside in (say) 2016, and it then becomes known by confession or credible evidence that a current HoF member was juicing, then I can see that opening the way to argue that we shouldn't employ a double standard. But not until then.

--------------------------------------------------------------

This is the WHOLE problem with your argument, Andy. You think you are being reasonable and not witch hunting, but your criteria of "known" vs. "suspected" steroid users is capricious and, as you say, subjective.

And there IS is actually a pretty dang objective way to measure this: If you have failed a MLB administered test, with right of appeal for steriods, then you are a known steroid user.

But this is not good enough for you, because it would basically let you keep ARod and Manny Ramierez out of the HOF.

I guess you could expand it to "confessed" steroid users (adding McGwire, Canseco and a few others)... but it seems wrong to punish people for confessing.


Sorry, but I don't think it's stretching it to say that we know beyond a reasonable doubt that Bonds, McGwire and Canseco (and Ken Caminiti) juiced, in addition to those who failed tests.

It is stretching it to say that we know that Bagwell, Sosa, Fisk, Piazza and players who've been merely accused on the basis of hearsay and innuendo were juicing.

Based on what we know, I also think it's a stretch to say that we know that Clemens was juicing, especially given his reaction from the git-go, which he backed up consistently without equivocating. At first I was skeptical about his denials, but the trial made me a lot more skeptical about the prosecution's case against him. And all things being equal, I'd rather assume non-guilt.
   63. Walt Davis Posted: December 19, 2012 at 06:51 PM (#4328975)
Whew ... until Andy gave a coherent defense of his "known" vs "unknown" in #62, I thought I was going to have to step in to defend him.

So I can just pick on Andy instead. :-)

I'm not sure you can ascribe the same degree of innocence to the players of the 90's with their pharamceutically trained Andersons overseeing their workouts, but I realize that this is a subjective call.

So the guy getting stuff from a weightlifter operating out of his gym locker and then injecting himself with stuff from a bottle labelled "FOR EQUINE USE ONLY" in the 70s and early 80s is the naive innocent while the guy who became a client of a legally incorporated business specializing in maximizing athlete performance with several regularly tested Olympic athletes on their client list and who agreed to a NY Times Magazine story on his workout routine is the guy who obviously knew he was cheating?

"Knowing use" is not a distinction you want to be trying to make Andy.
   64. Gonfalon B. Posted: December 19, 2012 at 06:54 PM (#4328978)
Barry Bonds should have said his added muscle was thanks to Froot Loops. That answer was considered quirky and adorable by the same hard-nosed voters who are now studying 20 years of Jeff Bagwell's neck size as if it was the Torah.
   65. zenbitz Posted: December 19, 2012 at 07:26 PM (#4329000)
Sorry, but I don't think it's stretching it to say that we know beyond a reasonable doubt that Bonds, McGwire and Canseco (and Ken Caminiti) juiced, in addition to those who failed tests.


"Beyond a reasonable doubt" or "the preponderance of evidence suggests". Keeping in mind that there are rules of evidence for a reason.


It is stretching it to say that we know that Bagwell, Sosa, Fisk, Piazza and players who've been merely accused on the basis of hearsay and innuendo were juicing.

Based on what we know...


I am not saying you are wrong, I am just saying you are not being objective. I think it's all fine and dandy to form subjective opinions of guilt or innocence or whatever have you. But I don't think it's just to apply real-world punishments based on these - especially without a trial system.
   66. KT's Pot Arb Posted: December 19, 2012 at 08:44 PM (#4329030)
No, Bill's point is that he wants to see known steroid users in the Hall of Fame, and the best way to accomplish this is by lumping them with players about whom no compelling evidence has been presented. Nice move, but it's a bit transparent.


Wow, for a guy on a rantage over Bill accusing anonymous HOFers of steroid use, you really went loony here claiming you know what Bill is actually thinking.

It has never been my position that nothing counts except the numbers. ...

It is not my position that you can’t discount the accomplishments of steroid users. ...

It is my view, however, that attempting to apply that discount traps you into an ultimately unsustainable balancing act.


So devious for Bill to point out that your viewpoint is essentially illogical. YOU want to see steroid users in the HOF, as long as they are not KNOWN, whatever that means. You seem to want to punish confessions with exile, and reward stonewalling liars with baseball's highest glory. All for taking substances their competitors were taking and allowed by the CBA.
   67. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 19, 2012 at 08:52 PM (#4329037)
Is there any part of Andy's presentation that is coherent?
   68. KT's Pot Arb Posted: December 19, 2012 at 08:56 PM (#4329040)
If it were innocuous in 1982, Fisk wouldn't have had any compunction about discussing it in 1982. But he didn't, because he knew it was cheating.


LOL. Why on earth would Carlton Fisk publicly discuss his most valuable workout secrets?

So his young competitors could keep up?

And how can it have been cheating if Fay Vincent didn't add Steroids to the banned list until a decade later ?
   69. Srul Itza Posted: December 19, 2012 at 09:38 PM (#4329056)
If a refusal to rush to judgment on the basis of hearsay and speculation is being "in denial", then fine, call it whatever the #### you want. I can live with that.


There is a big difference between a rush to judgment, and simply playing the numbers. Your problem is that you think taking steroids is such a horrific offense against humanity, that to even suggest that someone now in the Hall was probably a steroid user gives you the vapors. [Which is a far cry from the way you acted when the issue first arose here.]

If someone were to suggest that, among all of the people elected to the Hall, there were probably one or two who were closeted gays, you wouldn't faint at the notion. If somebody were to suggest that one or two of them secretly harbored racist sentiments, you would probably nod and say, sure, given the numbers and where they come from, that is not unlikely.

But suggest that among a group of men who were as extremely competitive as any lot that ever existed, many of whom worked very hard, year in and year out to stay in the game and stay at the top of their profession, there were some who fit the profile of having supplemented their work out routines with steroids (especially at a time when they were well known in the work out community, but not yet a cause célèbre in the wider world), and suddenly Andy is on the fainting couch, calling for the smelling salts.
   70. Srul Itza Posted: December 19, 2012 at 09:45 PM (#4329059)
If it were innocuous in 1982, Fisk wouldn't have had any compunction about discussing it in 1982. But he didn't, because he knew it was cheating.


Would that also apply to amphetamines? Because a lot of guys apparently took them in the 60's and 70's, but until Ball Four, nobody talked about it. Does that mean they knew they were cheating?
   71. Jose Canusee Posted: December 19, 2012 at 11:00 PM (#4329084)
Link has been replaced with later issue. I knew who Dirty Rotten was, but "Wood Chipper?" I thought he was equating the great Brandon Wood with Larry Jones.
   72. McCoy Posted: December 19, 2012 at 11:02 PM (#4329086)
I doubt it is Rickey since Canseco never named him and in fact said that Rickey was not the guy he was talking about when he was talking about a steroid user inducted into the hall.
   73. John Northey Posted: December 19, 2012 at 11:33 PM (#4329100)
I'm just waiting for surgical means to improve performance (some think Tommy John surgery could help in some cases). A whole new can of worms.
   74. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: December 20, 2012 at 12:27 AM (#4329121)
If a refusal to rush to judgment on the basis of hearsay and speculation is being "in denial", then fine, call it whatever the #### you want. I can live with that.

There is a big difference between a rush to judgment, and simply playing the numbers. Your problem is that you think taking steroids is such a horrific offense against humanity, that to even suggest that someone now in the Hall was probably a steroid user gives you the vapors.


If "the vapors" means that discovering that a current HoFer had been juicing would lead me to say that fairness would then compel me to allow previously known (statistically qualified) users into the Hall of Fame, then I guess I've got the vapors. Unfortunately, you're looking at what you assume is a carton of fertilized eggs and planning a rotisserie dinner before the first egg even hatches. What's apparently giving you the shakes is that to this point there has been no solid evidence to confirm your conjecture, and you can't seem to bear the thought of waiting.

[Which is a far cry from the way you acted when the issue first arose here.]

Do tell. I thought I was much more hardcore in my rhetoric back then, though I don't believe I've ever changed my basic standards of evidence. You can call me whatever you want, but I've never been one of those cap size guys. That may be Bryant Gumbel's schtick, but it's not mine.

If someone were to suggest that, among all of the people elected to the Hall, there were probably one or two who were closeted gays, you wouldn't faint at the notion. If somebody were to suggest that one or two of them secretly harbored racist sentiments, you would probably nod and say, sure, given the numbers and where they come from, that is not unlikely.

But suggest that among a group of men who were as extremely competitive as any lot that ever existed, many of whom worked very hard, year in and year out to stay in the game and stay at the top of their profession, there were some who fit the profile of having supplemented their work out routines with steroids (especially at a time when they were well known in the work out community, but not yet a cause célèbre in the wider world), and suddenly Andy is on the fainting couch, calling for the smelling salts.


Love those accents, but it doesn't help your argument. You still seem to regard my simply wanting to wait for actual concrete evidence to be a sign of some sort of nervous condition on my part. My inner pop psychologist calls that projection.

Look, I've said a zillion times that if you don't consider steroids to be cheating, I'm fine with that subjective view of sportsmanship, and I'm fine with your wanting to see your midlife crisis heroes enshrined in Cooperstown. And if you want to consider amps or lasik or spitters or goat testicles the equivalent of Greg Anderson's corner drug store, feel free to do so. You're not the first and you won't be the last person to think along those lines. I'm not exactly sure why my not seeing things in the same perspective as you do is such a big deal, but I'm afraid there isn't much I'm going to be able to do about it. Auto-da-fés don't generally work on Norwegian agnostics. Maybe on snapper or one of the other local Papists.
   75. Walt Davis Posted: December 20, 2012 at 01:34 AM (#4329160)
So devious for Bill to point out that your viewpoint is essentially illogical. YOU want to see steroid users in the HOF, as long as they are not KNOWN, whatever that means. You seem to want to punish confessions with exile, and reward stonewalling liars with baseball's highest glory. All for taking substances their competitors were taking and allowed by the CBA.

Ahhh ... you noticed something I think we all overlooked ... then overlooked it. To wit, from James's stuff:

It is not my position that you can’t discount the accomplishments of steroid users.

It is my view, however, that attempting to apply that discount traps you into an ultimately unsustainable balancing act.


James is talking about discounters. Andy is not a discounter, Andy is a "if you did roids, you're out" guy.

As is common, Andy is trying to avoid the "balancing act" via draconian "no HoF if you're guilty, eligible if you're not guilty" (recalling that "not guilty" and "innocent" are not the same).

Any discounter has no choice but to vote for Bonds and Clemens. Short of a 60% discount Bonds is still in; short of 70% he's still borderline. If you're discounting by so much that Bonds is not an HoFer then you're not a discounter, you're a blackballer.
   76. Gonfalon B. Posted: December 20, 2012 at 02:03 AM (#4329165)
If inducting a steroids user is wrong, why would the revelation that one (or three) of them had already been inducted make it okay to go ahead and put one in on purpose?

I mean, sure, I know this is all about creating a thoroughly unrealistic scenario as the prerequisite to moving past Raffy Palmeiro's fingerpoint of doom. Agreeing to "wait" for Eddie Murray to break down and confess, like the last scene on "Perry Mason," or keeping a "fair-minded" eye peeled for a preserved sample of Robin Yount's drugged-up 1990 DNA, in case one should happen to float by on an iceberg someday. But even as a hypothetical, the inconsistency undermines the premise.

It's okay to retroactively punish steroid players, unless we retroactively discover that we missed the first chance to do so, in which case all future retroactive punishment should be stopped? Huh?
   77. J.R. Wolf Posted: December 20, 2012 at 03:40 AM (#4329182)
Takings steroids is not a horrific offense against humanity. It is a horrific offense against baseball.
   78. KT's Pot Arb Posted: December 20, 2012 at 04:23 AM (#4329185)
As is common, Andy is trying to avoid the "balancing act" via draconian "no HoF if you're guilty, eligible if you're not guilty" (recalling that "not guilty" and "innocent" are not the same).


And of course that is only a figs leaf away from discounting. If Andy thinks steroid use is such a horrendous crime (never a crime so bold as one that involves cheating so you could work out harder and more often, nothing so unamerican as rewarding hard work), his viewpoint means eventually allowing steroid "cheats" in the Hall by the dozens, simply because they never confessed, and were never caught.
   79. Everybody Loves Tyrus Raymond Posted: December 20, 2012 at 06:02 AM (#4329191)
I think Henderson is clean. "If Rickey can't pronounce it, then Rickey's not putting it in his body."
   80. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: December 20, 2012 at 06:15 AM (#4329192)
just one clarification, tom stated above that nobody was asking carlton fisk about his workout

this is incorrect. fisk workout regimen was a hot topic with photos of fisk doing what was listed as his 500th situp and the like.

writers oooed and aaaahed about fisk commitment to what were regarded as over the top workouts
   81. just plain joe Posted: December 20, 2012 at 09:27 AM (#4329222)
I'm just waiting for surgical means to improve performance (some think Tommy John surgery could help in some cases). A whole new can of worms.


What about Lasik surgery? A procedure that improves one's eyesight should result in a performance improvement.
   82. bjhanke Posted: December 20, 2012 at 10:14 AM (#4329255)
Buried beneath the 1000th rehash of the steroids debate/argument, Bill's second comment is odd to me, since it appears to be the exact opposite of a conclusion he came to back in the 1980s, when he was doing annual Abstracts. One year, I have long forgotten which, he did an analysis of whether Mike Schmidt and Larry Bowa were leeching fielding opportunities from each other, since both had very good range. He concluded then that this didn't happen, that position players are too far apart to seriously leech chances from each other. His second point here says pretty much the opposite, if I read it right. It's been 35 years or so since the original comment, so Bill may well have come into evidence that changed his mind, but the question - whether high-range fielders do leech chances from each other, making both defenders look worse than they actually are - strikes me as still important. Has anyone here done that kind of analysis more recently than 1988? What conclusions did you draw? Please don't mention steroids. - Brock Hanke
   83. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: December 20, 2012 at 10:41 AM (#4329271)
It is my view, however, that attempting to apply that discount traps you into an ultimately unsustainable balancing act. At least three players who were almost certainly steroid users have already been elected to the Hall of Fame.

Why is the balancing act "ultimately unsustainable"? The only problem the three users (*) already in poses to discounting is if they would have been discounted out had their use been known. And even that isn't such a big problem to a HOF that contains Jim Rice.

(*) Why won't James say who he thinks they are? Is he just BS'ing?
   84. Nasty Nate Posted: December 20, 2012 at 10:45 AM (#4329273)
Has anyone here done that kind of analysis more recently than 1988? What conclusions did you draw?


It is an interesting question. I would guess that any 'leeching' would be much more pronounced in the outfield than in the infield, but I have not read any studies about it.
   85. The Chronicles of Reddick Posted: December 20, 2012 at 11:39 AM (#4329310)
Bill James makes Mongo's head hurt.
   86. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: December 20, 2012 at 11:41 AM (#4329312)
And how can it have been cheating if Fay Vincent didn't add Steroids to the banned list until a decade later ?


Cheating is any attempt to surrepetitiously gain an advantage not available to everyone else. Taking steroids and covering it up easily qualifies.

   87. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: December 20, 2012 at 11:56 AM (#4329322)
Cheating is any attempt to surrepetitiously gain an advantage not available to everyone else. Taking steroids and covering it up easily qualifies.

Yes. MLB agreed and adopted this proposition through the Mitchell Report.
   88. AROM Posted: December 20, 2012 at 11:57 AM (#4329323)
One year, I have long forgotten which, he did an analysis of whether Mike Schmidt and Larry Bowa were leeching fielding opportunities from each other, since both had very good range. He concluded then that this didn't happen, that position players are too far apart to seriously leech chances from each other.


I'm pretty sure it's all one-way, a 3B can take plays from a SS but not vice versa.

A third baseman will make plays where he cuts in front of the shortstop. This happens fairly often. Some of these are plays that the SS would not have a chance on anyway, as they are hit too slow. But some of them are playable. Every now and then you'll see a 3B just miss the ball, and the shortstop, while distracted, stay with it and make a nice play to get the out. I don't have a study to offer, but it seems obvious to me that the more rangy a 3B the more of these types of plays he could take from the SS.

I don't think it's possible for a SS to have so much range that he'd take a play away from third, mostly because the SS plays deeper than the 3B.

Nonstandard positioning, especially as a reaction to a player's range, complicates this analysis.
   89. BDC Posted: December 20, 2012 at 12:22 PM (#4329343)
an analysis of whether Mike Schmidt and Larry Bowa were leeching fielding opportunities from each other, since both had very good range

Minor point, but IIRC the issue was whether Schmidt was taking a lot of plays away from Bowa, because Bowa's range, in terms of plays made, wasn't nearly as good as his reputation. But the answer was "no" at the time, Schmidt wasn't really affecting Bowa's chances much.

Michael Humphreys has an interesting discussion of "ballhogging" in Wizardry, and adjusts his analysis mostly for CF and middle infielders taking high fly balls away from other fielders who could just as easily catch them. Taking an assist away from another infielder is harder – the play happens too fast – though as AROM notes, you can certainly envision the scenario.

   90. Ron J2 Posted: December 20, 2012 at 12:23 PM (#4329344)
Brock you may recall that James eventually included a snarky comment to the effect that if Schmidt is taking chances away from Bowa one of them should move over because there are balls getting through the left side.

I don't think there's much doubt that there are in fact discretionary chances -- plays that can be made by two or more fielders. The odd thing is that these plays carry basically no signal as to defensive ability. They're basically always outs, it's just an issue of accounting.
   91. Gonfalon B. Posted: December 20, 2012 at 03:31 PM (#4329485)
Cheating is any attempt to surrepetitiously gain an advantage not available to everyone else. Taking steroids and covering it up easily qualifies.

Yes. MLB agreed and adopted this proposition through the Mitchell Report.


And again (and again, and again), MLB also ignored early in-house steroid warnings and expunged any acknowledgement of them from the Mitchell Report 12 years later, MLB also approved contracts that had had generic steroid clauses specifically deleted, MLB made personnel moves based on their knowledge of players being on or going off steroids, MLB held team seminars to teach players how to use steroids more safely, and MLB gave testimony before Congress that was more provably false than Rafael Palmeiro's was.

The Mitchell Report was a tactical effort to put space between MLB management and their history of actions and inactions, and it's pure suckerbait to accept it as a valid and sincere account. And I say this as someone who absolutely agrees that earlier steroid use was cheating. The difference between me and MLB is that it didn't take me more than a decade to figure that out.
   92. Karl from NY Posted: December 20, 2012 at 09:59 PM (#4329751)
I'm just waiting for surgical means to improve performance (some think Tommy John surgery could help in some cases). A whole new can of worms.

LASIK already exists. That effect is real. I had it and experienced a notable improvement in my ping-pong game, able to see spin on the ball as if it were magnified.

(Coke to #81, though I've got firsthand experience.)
   93. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: December 20, 2012 at 10:37 PM (#4329788)
Catchers by WAR 2000-2009

1. Jorge Posada 34.8
2. Ivan Rodriguez 28.4
3. Joe Mauer 26.0
4. Jason Kendall 23.4
5. Victor Martinez 18.6


James said (and I agree with him) that it's not just the decade that counts. If so that's not fair to a guy who played from say 1995-2004.

So what he does is count everything the player did (unless he's good enough to win two different decades, but that's Bonds/Musial type rare), and then give him credit for that in the decade he played the most. So for Posada you'd count his whole career, etc. Pudge would get all of his credit in the 90s I'd assume.
   94. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: December 20, 2012 at 10:40 PM (#4329794)
I don't think there's much doubt that there are in fact discretionary chances -- plays that can be made by two or more fielders. The odd thing is that these plays carry basically no signal as to defensive ability. They're basically always outs, it's just an issue of accounting.


They carry no signal, but they can definitely mess with systems that don't have batted ball data available and rely on traditional stats. Which is important if you are looking at historical players. You can't just ignore the effect there.
   95. Srul Itza Posted: December 20, 2012 at 10:43 PM (#4329795)
If "the vapors" means that discovering that a current HoFer had been juicing would lead me to say that fairness would then compel me to allow previously known (statistically qualified) users into the Hall of Fame, then I guess I've got the vapors.


Entirely different issue. I don't care a fig for what the revelation of past users being in the Hall would do to you or any other voter. I never even brought it up. You are making assumptions, as usual. Just like you assumed St. Barry was guilty, when we all know that such a fine gentleman would never sully his precious bodily fluids.

The issue is, what is wrong with suggesting that there is already a HOFer or 3 was a juicer, when the facts and odds make it very likely? What anyone DOES with that information is wholly different from the issue of what the information is.


BTW -- Auto-da-fé? What's an Auto-da-fé?

   96. Srul Itza Posted: December 20, 2012 at 10:48 PM (#4329799)
writers oooed and aaaahed about fisk commitment to what were regarded as over the top workouts


Just like they did about Barry's work outs.
   97. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: December 20, 2012 at 10:50 PM (#4329800)
He concluded then that this didn't happen, that position players are too far apart to seriously leech chances from each other.


Wasn't he saying (presently) if you have a bad 3B you should at least consider the good fielding SS as a tiebreaker with a better hitting but similar overall value SS.

That's not the same thing as talking about leeching chances because two guys are both good. He's talking about getting extra value out of the good SS since he can help make up for some of the 3B's deficiencies. I think that makes a big difference in interpreting his statement.
   98. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: December 20, 2012 at 10:51 PM (#4329802)
BTW, on the 3 juicers, Fisk and Ryan are obvious, I've taken them as a given for at least 5 years now.

Did we decide on the third? Was it Molitor?

Not that I care at all. I'm firmly in the "it's no different than a spitball or a greenie or a whatever monkey juice Pud Galvin injected" camp.
   99. Srul Itza Posted: December 20, 2012 at 10:52 PM (#4329803)
Cheating is any attempt to surrepetitiously gain an advantage not available to everyone else.


No, it's not. Cheating is any attempt to surrepetitiously gain an advantage that is not permitted by the rules. Whether it is "available to everyone else" is irrelevant -- life is not fair. If somebody was the first to discover a legal training technique or technology that allowed him to improve his skill, it would not be cheating to take advantage of it, nor would he be obligated to share it with anyone else.
   100. Srul Itza Posted: December 20, 2012 at 10:56 PM (#4329806)
BTW, on the 3 juicers, Fisk and Ryan are obvious,


So when Ryan went medieval on Ventura, that was roid rage?
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